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Plants, Volume 13, Issue 8 (April-2 2024) – 118 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Polycotyly is an interesting characteristic of seed-bearing plants with more than two cotyledons. Gymnosperms and angiosperms generally have one or two cotyledons, but little is known about the extent of polycotyly in plant taxa. An attempt was made to update the polycotyly documentation in plant species and highlight some research for a better understanding of polycotyly. This effort revealed 342 angiosperms and 160 gymnosperms with polycotyly. Advanced research includes molecular-based phylogenetic inference of flowering plants and the application of genetic cotyledon mutants to clone genes that regulate cotyledon development. More research is needed to discover plant species with polycotyly and to explore the nature, development, genetics, evolution, and potential use of polycotyly. View this paper
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18 pages, 4815 KiB  
Article
Endophyte Inoculation and Elevated Potassium Supply on Productivity, Growth and Physiological Parameters of Spring Barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) Genotypes over Contrasting Seasons
by Dominik Bleša, Pavel Matušinský, Milan Baláž, Zdeněk Nesvadba and Marta Zavřelová
Plants 2024, 13(8), 1168; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13081168 - 22 Apr 2024
Viewed by 564
Abstract
In recent years, recurrent droughts have significantly affected spring barley production, reducing the quantity and quality of grain. This study aims to identify genotype-specific traits and the drought resilience of six different Hordeum vulgare L. (spring barley) genotypes, while also examining the potential [...] Read more.
In recent years, recurrent droughts have significantly affected spring barley production, reducing the quantity and quality of grain. This study aims to identify genotype-specific traits and the drought resilience of six different Hordeum vulgare L. (spring barley) genotypes, while also examining the potential of potassium application and fungal endophyte Serendipita indica inoculation to mitigate the negative effects of dry periods during the growing season. Field experiments were conducted over a three-year period from 2020 to 2022, measuring physiological, growth, and yield parameters. To get insight into the physiological state of the plants, we measured the soluble sugars content and the ratio of stable carbon isotopes in the flag leaf tissue, which reflects conditions during its formation. The dominant factors that influenced the measured parameters were the genotypes and seasons, as well as their interaction, rather than other experimental factors. The results showed that the Spitfire and Accordine varieties were the best performing in both the 2020 and 2021 seasons, as indicated by their yield. However, in the drier 2022 season, the yield of these two varieties decreased significantly (to 55% for Spitfire and to 69% for Accordine of their yield in 2021), while for the arid-region genotypes, it remained at the same level as the previous year. This study sheds light on the potential of various genotypes to withstand periods of drought and the effectiveness of using potassium application and S. indica inoculation as mitigation approaches. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Barley: A Versatile Crop for Sustainable Food Production)
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16 pages, 17270 KiB  
Article
Differentially Expressed Genes Identification of Kohlrabi Seedlings (Brassica oleracea var. caulorapa L.) under Polyethylene Glycol Osmotic Stress and AP2/ERF Transcription Factor Family Analysis
by Shuanling Bian, Mengliang Zhao, Huijuan Zhang and Yanjing Ren
Plants 2024, 13(8), 1167; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13081167 - 22 Apr 2024
Viewed by 590
Abstract
Osmotic stress is a condition in which plants do not get enough water due to changes in environmental factors. Plant response to osmotic stress is a complex process involving the interaction of different stress-sensitive mechanisms. Differentially expressed genes and response mechanisms of kohlrabi [...] Read more.
Osmotic stress is a condition in which plants do not get enough water due to changes in environmental factors. Plant response to osmotic stress is a complex process involving the interaction of different stress-sensitive mechanisms. Differentially expressed genes and response mechanisms of kohlrabi have not been reported under osmotic stress. A total of 196,642 unigenes and 33,040 differentially expressed unigenes were identified in kohlrabi seedlings under polyethylene glycol osmotic stress. AP2/ERF, NAC and eight other transcription factor family members with a high degree of interaction with CAT and SOD antioxidant enzyme activity were identified. Subsequently, 151 AP2/ERF genes were identified and analyzed. Twelve conserved motifs were searched and all AP2/ERF genes were clustered into four groups. A total of 149 AP2/ERF genes were randomly distributed on the chromosome, and relative expression level analysis showed that BocAP2/ERF genes of kohlrabi have obvious specificity in different tissues. This study lays a foundation for explaining the osmotic stress resistance mechanism of kohlrabi and provides a theoretical basis for the functional analysis of BocAP2/ERF transcription factor family members. Full article
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19 pages, 6517 KiB  
Article
Genetic Diversity for Effective Resistance in Wheat Landraces from Ethiopia and Eritrea to Fungal Diseases and Toxic Aluminum Ions
by Evgeny V. Zuev, Tatiana V. Lebedeva, Olga V. Yakovleva, Maria A. Kolesova, Alla N. Brykova, Natalia S. Lysenko and Lev G. Tyryshkin
Plants 2024, 13(8), 1166; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13081166 - 22 Apr 2024
Viewed by 617
Abstract
To reveal genetic diversity for effective resistance to five foliar diseases and toxic aluminum ions, the entire collection of wheat species from the N.I. Vavilov All-Russian Institute of Plant Genetic Resources (VIR) originating from Ethiopia and Eritrea were studied regarding their traits. The [...] Read more.
To reveal genetic diversity for effective resistance to five foliar diseases and toxic aluminum ions, the entire collection of wheat species from the N.I. Vavilov All-Russian Institute of Plant Genetic Resources (VIR) originating from Ethiopia and Eritrea were studied regarding their traits. The collection contains 509 samples of four wheat species (Triticum aestivum—122 samples; T. aethiopicum—340 samples; T. polonicum—6 samples; and T. dicoccum—41 samples). The majority of accessions are new entries of landraces added to the Vavilov collection as a result of the Russian–Ethiopian expedition in 2012. Wheat seedlings were inoculated with causal agents of leaf rust (Pt), powdery mildew (Bgt), Septoria nodorum blotch (SNB), and dark-brown leaf spot blotch (HLB). The types of reaction and disease development were assessed to describe the levels of resistance. All samples of T. aethiopicum were also screened for seedling and adult resistance to Pt, Bgt, and yellow rust (Pst) under field conditions after double inoculation with the corresponding pathogens. To study tolerance to abiotic stress, seedlings were grown in a solution of Al3+ (185 µM, pH 4,0) and in water. The index of root length was used to characterize tolerance. Seedlings belonging to only two accessions out of those studied—k-68236 of T. aethiopicum and k-67397 of T. dicoccum—were resistant to Pt at 20 °C but susceptible at 25 °C. Specific molecular markers closely linked to the five genes for Pt resistance effective against populations of the pathogen from the northwestern region of Russia were not amplified in these two entries after PCR with corresponding primers. Four entries of T. dicoccum—k-18971, k-18975, k-19577, and k-67398—were highly resistant to Bgt. All samples under study were susceptible to HLB and SNB. Under field conditions, 15% of the T. aethiopicum samples were resistant to Pst, both at the seedling and the flag leaf stages, but all were susceptible to the other diseases under study. Among the evaluated samples, 20 entries of T. aestivum, 1 of T. polonicum (k-43765), and 2 of T. dicoccum (k-18971, k-67397) were tolerant to aluminum ions. The identified entries could be valuable sources for the breeding of T. aestivum and other wheats for resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses. Full article
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11 pages, 1381 KiB  
Article
Limitations of Plant Stress Tolerance upon Heat and CO2 Exposure in Black Poplar: Assessment of Photosynthetic Traits and Stress Volatile Emissions
by Miguel Portillo-Estrada
Plants 2024, 13(8), 1165; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13081165 - 22 Apr 2024
Viewed by 480
Abstract
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted by plants may help in understanding the status of a plant’s physiology and its coping with mild to severe stress. Future climatic projections reveal that shifts in temperature and CO2 availability will occur, and plants may incur [...] Read more.
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted by plants may help in understanding the status of a plant’s physiology and its coping with mild to severe stress. Future climatic projections reveal that shifts in temperature and CO2 availability will occur, and plants may incur the uncoupling of carbon assimilation and synthesis of key molecules. This study explores the patterns of emissions of key VOCs (isoprene, methanol, acetaldehyde, and acetic acid) emitted by poplar leaves (more than 350) under a combined gradient of temperature (12–42 °C) and air CO2 concentration (400–1500 ppm), along with measurements of photosynthetic rates and stomatal conductance. Isoprene emission exhibited a rise with temperature and CO2 availability, peaking at 39 °C, the temperature at which methanol emission started to peak, illustrating the limit of stress tolerance to severe damage. Isoprene emission was uncoupled from the photosynthesis rate, indicating a shift from the carbon source for isoprene synthesis, while assimilation was decreased. Methanol and acetaldehyde emissions were correlated with stomatal conductance and peaked at 25 °C and 1200 ppm CO2. Acetic acid emissions lacked a clear correlation with stomatal conductance and the emission pattern of its precursor acetaldehyde. This study offers crucial insights into the limitations of photosynthetic carbon and stress tolerance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Physiology and Metabolism)
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12 pages, 286 KiB  
Perspective
Crop Diversity in Agroecosystems for Pest Management and Food Production
by Jillian Lenné and David Wood
Plants 2024, 13(8), 1164; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13081164 - 22 Apr 2024
Viewed by 497
Abstract
During the past 30 years, there has been a growing belief in and promotion of agroecosystem diversity for pest management and future food production as an agroecological or nature-based approach. Monoculture agriculture, which produces most of our food, is considered to be highly [...] Read more.
During the past 30 years, there has been a growing belief in and promotion of agroecosystem diversity for pest management and future food production as an agroecological or nature-based approach. Monoculture agriculture, which produces most of our food, is considered to be highly vulnerable to pests in contrast to plant species-diverse agroecosystems which may possess a greater abundance of natural enemies, keeping pest populations under control. In this paper, we question the role of crop diversity for pest management and explore the relationship between crop and associated diversity and pests through the following processes: environmental stresses that favor monodominance; evolutionary adaptations that resist insect herbivores (genetic resistance response); mechanisms of spatial escape from insect herbivores (escape response); and the role of crop-associated biodiversity. We present strong evidence that not only questions the high vulnerability of monocultures to pest damage but also supports why monocultures continue to produce most of the world’s food. Reference is made to the importance of targeted plant breeding and the role of trans-continental crop introduction supported by efficient quarantine for pest management. We conclude that—with the exception of irrigated rice—much more research is needed to better understand the role of crop diversity in agroecosystems for pest management and food production. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Embracing Systems Thinking in Crop Protection Science)
20 pages, 6981 KiB  
Article
Application of Hyperspectral Technology with Machine Learning for Brix Detection of Pastry Pears
by Hongkun Ouyang, Lingling Tang, Jinglong Ma and Tao Pang
Plants 2024, 13(8), 1163; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13081163 - 22 Apr 2024
Viewed by 468
Abstract
Sugar content is an essential indicator for evaluating crisp pear quality and categorization, being used for fruit quality identification and market sales prediction. In this study, we paired a support vector machine (SVM) algorithm with genetic algorithm optimization to reliably estimate the sugar [...] Read more.
Sugar content is an essential indicator for evaluating crisp pear quality and categorization, being used for fruit quality identification and market sales prediction. In this study, we paired a support vector machine (SVM) algorithm with genetic algorithm optimization to reliably estimate the sugar content in crisp pears. We evaluated the spectral data and actual sugar content in crisp pears, then applied three preprocessing methods to the spectral data: standard normal variable transformation (SNV), multivariate scattering correction (MSC), and convolution smoothing (SG). Support vector regression (SVR) models were built using processing approaches. According to the findings, the SVM model preprocessed with convolution smoothing (SG) was the most accurate, with a correlation coefficient 0.0742 higher than that of the raw spectral data. Based on this finding, we used competitive adaptive reweighting (CARS) and the continuous projection algorithm (SPA) to select key representative wavelengths from the spectral data. Finally, we used the retrieved characteristic wavelength data to create a support vector machine model (GASVR) that was genetically tuned. The correlation coefficient of the SG–GASVR model in the prediction set was higher by 0.0321 and the root mean square prediction error (RMSEP) was lower by 0.0267 compared with those of the SG–SVR model. The SG–CARS–GASVR model had the highest correlation coefficient, at 0.8992. In conclusion, the developed SG–CARS–GASVR model provides a reliable method for detecting the sugar content in crisp pear using hyperspectral technology, thereby increasing the accuracy and efficiency of the quality assessment of crisp pear. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applications of Spectral Techniques in Plant Physiology)
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20 pages, 2349 KiB  
Article
Host Plant Modulated Physio-Biochemical Process Enhances Adaptive Response of Sandalwood (Santalum album L.) under Salinity Stress
by Kamlesh Verma, Ashwani Kumar, Raj Kumar, Naresh Kumar, Arvind Kumar, Ajay Kumar Bhardwaj, Ramesh Chander Verma and Prashant Sharma
Plants 2024, 13(8), 1162; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13081162 - 22 Apr 2024
Viewed by 547
Abstract
Salinity is one of the most significant abiotic stress that affects the growth and development of high-value tree species, including sandalwood, which can also be managed effectively on saline soils with the help of suitable host species. Therefore, the current investigation was conducted [...] Read more.
Salinity is one of the most significant abiotic stress that affects the growth and development of high-value tree species, including sandalwood, which can also be managed effectively on saline soils with the help of suitable host species. Therefore, the current investigation was conducted to understand the physiological processes and antioxidant mechanisms in sandalwood along the different salinity gradients to explore the host species that could support sandalwood growth in salt-affected agro-ecosystems. Sandalwood seedlings were grown with ten diverse host species with saline water irrigation gradients (ECiw~3, 6, and 9 dS m−1) and control (ECiw~0.82 dS m−1). Experimental findings indicate a decline in the chlorophyll content (13–33%), relative water content (3–23%), photosynthetic (27–61%) and transpiration rate (23–66%), water and osmotic potential (up to 137%), and ion dynamics (up to 61%) with increasing salinity levels. Conversely, the carotenoid content (23–43%), antioxidant activity (up to 285%), and membrane injury (82–205%) were enhanced with increasing salinity stress. Specifically, among the hosts, Dalbergia sissoo and Melia dubia showed a minimum reduction in chlorophyll content, relative water content, and plant water relation and gas exchange parameters of sandalwood plants. Surprisingly, most of the host tree species maintained K+/Na+ of sandalwood up to moderate water salinity of ECiw~6 dS m−1; however, a further increase in water salinity decreased the K+/Na+ ratio of sandalwood by many-fold. Salinity stress also enhanced the antioxidative enzyme activity, although the maximum increase was noted with host plants M. dubia, followed by D. sissoo and Azadirachta indica. Overall, the investigation concluded that sandalwood with the host D. sissoo can be successfully grown in nurseries using saline irrigation water and, with the host M. dubia, it can be grown using good quality irrigation water. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Plant Ecophysiology)
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20 pages, 3253 KiB  
Article
In Situ Use of Mining Substrates for Wetland Construction: Results of a Pilot Experiment
by Carmen Hernández-Pérez, Salvadora Martínez-López, María José Martínez-Sánchez, Lucia Belén Martínez-Martínez, María Luz García-Lorenzo and Carmen Perez Sirvent
Plants 2024, 13(8), 1161; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13081161 - 22 Apr 2024
Viewed by 474
Abstract
This paper evaluates an experimental wetland as part of a pilot soil reclamation project in a mining area. The wetland was constructed using materials of mining origin from the area; most reactive materials of acid pH were stabilised using limestone filler. The study [...] Read more.
This paper evaluates an experimental wetland as part of a pilot soil reclamation project in a mining area. The wetland was constructed using materials of mining origin from the area; most reactive materials of acid pH were stabilised using limestone filler. The study selected macrophytes that are tolerant to potentially toxic elements (PTEs) and resistant to salinity, namely Phragmites australis, Juncus effusus, and Iris pseudacorus. These macrophytes were then placed in pots containing substrates composed of different mixtures of topsoil, peat, and mining waste (black or yellow sand). A thorough analysis of the physicochemical and mineralogical characteristics of the materials included studies of PTE mobilisation. This study emphasises the significance of the rhizosphere in directing the transfer of PTEs to the plant and the correlation between the substrate and the development of plant defence mechanisms, such as the formation of Fe-plates. Scanning electron microscopy was used to highlight these aspects and validate the results of the analytical determinations. These wetlands can be proposed as a phytoremediation strategy for areas affected by mining and maritime influence. They are easy to construct and remain stable, providing important ecosystem services such as the natural attenuation of acid mine drainage, support for vegetation development and fauna, and a clean ecosystem. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Future Phytoremediation Practices for Metal-Contaminated Soils)
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23 pages, 5421 KiB  
Article
In-Depth Characterization of bZIP Genes in the Context of Endoplasmic Reticulum (ER) Stress in Brassica campestris ssp. chinensis
by Aliya Ayaz, Abdul Jalal, Xiaoli Zhang, Khalid Ali Khan, Chunmei Hu, Ying Li and Xilin Hou
Plants 2024, 13(8), 1160; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13081160 - 22 Apr 2024
Viewed by 525
Abstract
Numerous studies have been conducted to investigate the genomic characterization of bZIP genes and their involvement in the cellular response to endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress. These studies have provided valuable insights into the coordinated cellular response to ER stress, which is mediated by [...] Read more.
Numerous studies have been conducted to investigate the genomic characterization of bZIP genes and their involvement in the cellular response to endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress. These studies have provided valuable insights into the coordinated cellular response to ER stress, which is mediated by bZIP transcription factors (TFs). However, a comprehensive and systematic investigations regarding the role of bZIP genes and their involvement in ER stress response in pak choi is currently lacking in the existing literature. To address this knowledge gap, the current study was initiated to elucidate the genomic characteristics of bZIP genes, gain insight into their expression patterns during ER stress in pak choi, and investigate the protein-to-protein interaction of bZIP genes with the ER chaperone BiP. In total, 112 members of the BcbZIP genes were identified through a comprehensive genome-wide analysis. Based on an analysis of sequence similarity, gene structure, conserved domains, and responsive motifs, the identified BcbZIP genes were categorized into 10 distinct subfamilies through phylogenetic analysis. Chromosomal location and duplication events provided insight into their genomic context and evolutionary history. Divergence analysis estimated their evolutionary history with a predicted divergence time ranging from 0.73 to 80.71 million years ago (MYA). Promoter regions of the BcbZIP genes were discovered to exhibit a wide variety of cis-elements, including light, hormone, and stress-responsive elements. GO enrichment analysis further confirmed their roles in the ER unfolded protein response (UPR), while co-expression network analysis showed a strong relationship of BcbZIP genes with ER-stress-responsive genes. Moreover, gene expression profiles and protein–protein interaction with ER chaperone BiP further confirmed their roles and capacity to respond to ER stress in pak choi. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Genetics, Genomics and Biotechnology)
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15 pages, 3635 KiB  
Review
Update on the Basic Understanding of Fusarium graminearum Virulence Factors in Common Wheat Research
by Zeeshan Ali Buttar, Mengquan Cheng, Panqin Wei, Ziwei Zhang, Chunlei Lv, Chenjia Zhu, Nida Fatima Ali, Guozhang Kang, Daowen Wang and Kunpu Zhang
Plants 2024, 13(8), 1159; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13081159 - 22 Apr 2024
Viewed by 644
Abstract
Wheat is one of the most important food crops, both in China and worldwide. Wheat production is facing extreme stresses posed by different diseases, including Fusarium head blight (FHB), which has recently become an increasingly serious concerns. FHB is one of the most [...] Read more.
Wheat is one of the most important food crops, both in China and worldwide. Wheat production is facing extreme stresses posed by different diseases, including Fusarium head blight (FHB), which has recently become an increasingly serious concerns. FHB is one of the most significant and destructive diseases affecting wheat crops all over the world. Recent advancements in genomic tools provide a new avenue for the study of virulence factors in relation to the host plants. The current review focuses on recent progress in the study of different strains of Fusarium infection. The presence of genome-wide repeat-induced point (RIP) mutations causes genomic mutations, eventually leading to host plant susceptibility against Fusarium invasion. Furthermore, effector proteins disrupt the host plant resistance mechanism. In this study, we proposed systematic modification of the host genome using modern biological tools to facilitate plant resistance against foreign invasion. We also suggested a number of scientific strategies, such as gene cloning, developing more powerful functional markers, and using haplotype marker-assisted selection, to further improve FHB resistance and associated breeding methods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungus and Plant Interactions: Volume II)
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21 pages, 3482 KiB  
Article
Evaluation of the Productivity and Potential Utilization of Artemisia dubia Plant Biomass for Energy Conversion
by Algirdas Jasinskas, Gintaras Šiaudinis, Danutė Karčauskienė, Renata-Marks Bielska, Marek Marks, Stanislaw Bielski, Ramūnas Mieldažys, Kęstutis Romaneckas and Egidijus Šarauskis
Plants 2024, 13(8), 1158; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13081158 - 22 Apr 2024
Viewed by 575
Abstract
Field studies with the large-stemmed plant Artemisia dubia (A. dubia) have been carried out at the Vėžaičiai Branch of LAMMC since 2018. According to three years of experimental results, annual dry matter (DM) yield varied from 7.94 to 10.14 t ha [...] Read more.
Field studies with the large-stemmed plant Artemisia dubia (A. dubia) have been carried out at the Vėžaičiai Branch of LAMMC since 2018. According to three years of experimental results, annual dry matter (DM) yield varied from 7.94 to 10.14 t ha−1. Growing conditions, nitrogen application level, and harvesting time had statistically significant impacts on A. dubia productivity. The most important tasks of this article were to investigate and determine the factors influencing A. dubia plant biomass productivity and the evaluation of technological, power, and environmental parameters of plant biomass utilization for energy conversion and the production of high-quality solid biofuel pellets. For the experiments, six variants of A. dubia samples were used, which were grown in 2021. Plants were cut three times and two fertilization options were used: (1) no fertilization and (2) fertilization with 180 kg ha−1 of nitrogen fertilizer. These harvested plants were chopped, milled, and pressed into pellets. The physical–mechanical characteristics (moisture content, density, and strength) of the A. dubia pellets were investigated. During this study, it was found that the density in the dry mass (DM) of the pellets ranged from 1119.86 to 1192.44 kg m−3. The pellet moisture content ranged from 8.80 to 10.49%. After testing pellet strength, it was found that the pellets which were made from plant biomass PK-1-1 (first harvest without N fertilization) were the most resistant to compression, and they withstood 560.36 N of pressure. The dry fuel lower heating value (LHV) of the pellets was sufficiently high and was very close to that of the pine sawdust pellets; it varied from 17.46 ± 0.25 MJ kg−1 to 18.14 ± 0.28 MJ kg−1. The ash content of the burned pellets ranged from 3.62 ± 0.02% to 6.47 ± 0.09%. Emissions of harmful pollutants—CO2, CO, NOx, and unburnt hydrocarbons (CxHy)—did not exceed the maximum permissible levels. Summarizing the results for the investigated properties of the combustion and emissions of the A. dubia pellets, it can be concluded that this biofuel can be used for the production of pressed biofuel, and it is characterized by sufficiently high quality, efficient combustion, and permissible emissions to the environment. Full article
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18 pages, 2118 KiB  
Article
Effects of Salt Stress on Physiological and Agronomic Traits of Rice Genotypes with Contrasting Salt Tolerance
by Yunming Xu, Weicheng Bu, Yuchao Xu, Han Fei, Yiming Zhu, Irshad Ahmad, Nimir Eltyb Ahmed Nimir, Guisheng Zhou and Guanglong Zhu
Plants 2024, 13(8), 1157; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13081157 - 22 Apr 2024
Viewed by 611
Abstract
Salinity is one of the major constraints to crop production. Rice is a main staple food and is highly sensitive to salinity. This study aimed to elucidate the effects of salt stress on physiological and agronomic traits of rice genotypes with contrasting salt [...] Read more.
Salinity is one of the major constraints to crop production. Rice is a main staple food and is highly sensitive to salinity. This study aimed to elucidate the effects of salt stress on physiological and agronomic traits of rice genotypes with contrasting salt tolerance. Six contrasting rice genotypes (DJWJ, JFX, NSIC, HKN, XD2H and HHZ), including three salt-tolerant and three salt-sensitive rice genotypes, were grown under two different salt concentrations (0 and 100 mmol L−1 NaCl solution). The results showed that growth, physiological and yield-related traits of both salt-sensitive and salt-tolerant rice were significantly affected by salt stress. In general, plant height, tiller number, dry weight and relative growth rate showed 15.7%, 11.2%, 25.2% and 24.6% more reduction in salt-sensitive rice than in salt-tolerant rice, respectively. On the contrary, antioxidant enzyme activity (superoxide dismutase, peroxidase, catalase), osmotic adjustment substances (proline, soluble protein, malondialdehyde (MDA)) and Na+ content were significantly increased under salt stress, and the increase was far higher in salt-tolerant rice except for MDA. Furthermore, grain yield and yield components significantly decreased under salt stress. Overall, the salt-sensitive rice genotypes showed a 15.3% greater reduction in grain yield, 5.1% reduction in spikelets per panicle, 7.4% reduction in grain-filling percentage and 6.1% reduction in grain weight compared to salt-tolerant genotypes under salt stress. However, a modest gap showed a decline in panicles (22.2% vs. 22.8%) and total spikelets (45.4% vs. 42.1%) between salt-sensitive and salt-tolerant rice under salinity conditions. This study revealed that the yield advantage of salt-tolerant rice was partially caused by more biomass accumulation, growth rate, strong antioxidant capacity and osmotic adjustment ability under salt stress, which contributed to more spikelets per panicle, high grain-filling percentage and grain weight. The results of this study could be helpful in understanding the physiological mechanism of contrasting rice genotypes’ responses to salt stress and to the breeding of salt-tolerant rice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Crop Physiology and Crop Production)
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28 pages, 14909 KiB  
Article
A Regulatory Mechanism on Pathways: Modulating Roles of MYC2 and BBX21 in the Flavonoid Network
by Nan Li, Yunzhang Xu and Yingqing Lu
Plants 2024, 13(8), 1156; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13081156 - 22 Apr 2024
Viewed by 538
Abstract
Genes of metabolic pathways are individually or collectively regulated, often via unclear mechanisms. The anthocyanin pathway, well known for its regulation by the MYB/bHLH/WDR (MBW) complex but less well understood in its connections to MYC2, BBX21, SPL9, PIF3, and HY5, is investigated here [...] Read more.
Genes of metabolic pathways are individually or collectively regulated, often via unclear mechanisms. The anthocyanin pathway, well known for its regulation by the MYB/bHLH/WDR (MBW) complex but less well understood in its connections to MYC2, BBX21, SPL9, PIF3, and HY5, is investigated here for its direct links to the regulators. We show that MYC2 can activate the structural genes of the anthocyanin pathway but also suppress them (except F3′H) in both Arabidopsis and Oryza when a local MBW complex is present. BBX21 or SPL9 can activate all or part of the structural genes, respectively, but the effects can be largely overwritten by the local MBW complex. HY5 primarily influences expressions of the early genes (CHS, CHI, and F3H). TF-TF relationships can be complex here: PIF3, BBX21, or SPL9 can mildly activate MYC2; MYC2 physically interacts with the bHLH (GL3) of the MBW complex and/or competes with strong actions of BBX21 to lessen a stimulus to the anthocyanin pathway. The dual role of MYC2 in regulating the anthocyanin pathway and a similar role of BBX21 in regulating BAN reveal a network-level mechanism, in which pathways are modulated locally and competing interactions between modulators may tone down strong environmental signals before they reach the network. Full article
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17 pages, 2133 KiB  
Article
Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi Improve the Performance of Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon Facing Water Deficit under Current and Future Climatic Conditions
by Daria Kozikova, Inmaculada Pascual and Nieves Goicoechea
Plants 2024, 13(8), 1155; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13081155 - 22 Apr 2024
Viewed by 579
Abstract
Climate change (CC) threatens Mediterranean viticulture. Rhizospheric microorganisms may be crucial for the adaptation of plants to CC. Our objective was to assess whether the association of two grapevine varieties with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) increases grapevine’s resilience to environmental conditions that combine [...] Read more.
Climate change (CC) threatens Mediterranean viticulture. Rhizospheric microorganisms may be crucial for the adaptation of plants to CC. Our objective was to assess whether the association of two grapevine varieties with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) increases grapevine’s resilience to environmental conditions that combine elevated atmospheric CO2, increased air temperatures, and water deficit. Tempranillo (T) and Cabernet Sauvignon (CS) plants, grafted onto R110 rootstocks, either inoculated (+M) or not (−M) with AMF, were grown in temperature-gradient greenhouses under two environmental conditions: (i) current conditions (ca. 400 ppm air CO2 concentration plus ambient air temperature, CATA) and (ii) climate change conditions predicted by the year 2100 (700 ppm of CO2 plus ambient air temperature +4 °C, CETE). From veraison to maturity, for plants of each variety, inoculation treatment and environmental conditions were also subjected to two levels of water availability: full irrigation (WW) or drought cycles (D). Therefore, the number of treatments applied to each grapevine variety was eight, resulting from the combination of two inoculation treatments (+M and −M), two environmental conditions (CATA and CETE), and two water availabilities (WW and D). In both grapevine varieties, early drought decreased leaf conductance and transpiration under both CATA and CETE conditions and more markedly in +M plants. Photosynthesis did not decrease very much, so the instantaneous water use efficiency (WUE) increased, especially in drought +M plants under CETE conditions. The increase in WUE coincided with a lower intercellular-to-atmospheric CO2 concentration ratio and reduced plant hydraulic conductance. In the long term, mycorrhization induced changes in the stomatal anatomy under water deficit and CETE conditions: density increased in T and decreased in CS, with smaller stomata in the latter. Although some responses were genotype-dependent, the interaction of the rootstock with AMF appeared to be a key factor in the acclimation of the grapevine to water deficit under both current and future CO2 and temperature conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Effects of Climate Change on Viticulture (Grape))
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13 pages, 2086 KiB  
Article
Oxidative Stress Response Mechanisms Sustain the Antibacterial and Antioxidant Activity of Quercus ilex
by Mariavittoria Verrillo, Piergiorgio Cianciullo, Vincenza Cozzolino, Francesca De Ruberto, Viviana Maresca, Alessia Di Fraia, Lina Fusaro, Fausto Manes and Adriana Basile
Plants 2024, 13(8), 1154; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13081154 - 21 Apr 2024
Viewed by 579
Abstract
The development of new natural antibiotics is considered as the heart of several investigations in the nutraceutical field. In this work, leaves of Quercus ilex L. treated by tropospheric ozone (O3) and nitrogen (N) deposition, exhibited a clear antimicrobial efficacy against [...] Read more.
The development of new natural antibiotics is considered as the heart of several investigations in the nutraceutical field. In this work, leaves of Quercus ilex L. treated by tropospheric ozone (O3) and nitrogen (N) deposition, exhibited a clear antimicrobial efficacy against five multi-drug resistant (MDR) bacterial strains (two gram-positive and three gram-negative). Under controlled conditions, it was studied how simulated N deposition influences the response to O3 and the antibacterial and antioxidant activity, and antioxidant performance. The extraction was performed by ultra-pure acetone using two different steps. A higher antioxidant activity was measured in the presence of interaction between O3 and N treatments on Quercus leaves. At the same time, all organic extracts tested have shown bacteriostatic activity against all the tested strains with a MIC comprised between 9 and 4 micrograms/mL, and a higher antioxidant efficacy shown by spectrophotometric assay. Stronger antimicrobial activity was found in the samples treated with O3, whereas N-treated plants exhibited an intermediate antibacterial performance. This performance is related to the stimulation of the non-enzymatic antioxidant system induced by the oxidative stress, which results in an increase in the production of antimicrobial bioactive compounds. Full article
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15 pages, 2428 KiB  
Article
Physiological and Enzymatic Antioxidant Responses of Solanum tuberosum Leaves to Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungal Inoculation under Water Stress
by Javiera Nahuelcura, Catalina Bravo, Analía Valdebenito, Sheina Rivas, Christian Santander, Felipe González, Pablo Cornejo, Boris Contreras and Antonieta Ruiz
Plants 2024, 13(8), 1153; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13081153 - 21 Apr 2024
Viewed by 562
Abstract
Solanum tuberosum is one of the most widely cropped plant species worldwide; unfortunately, drought is one of the major constraints on potato productivity because it affects the physiology, biochemical processes, and yield. The use of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) has exhibited beneficial effects [...] Read more.
Solanum tuberosum is one of the most widely cropped plant species worldwide; unfortunately, drought is one of the major constraints on potato productivity because it affects the physiology, biochemical processes, and yield. The use of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) has exhibited beneficial effects on plants during drought. The objective of this study was to analyse the effect of AMF inoculation on two genotypes of potato plants exposed to water stress, and the photosynthetic traits, enzymatic antioxidant activity, and exudation of low-molecular-weight organic acids (LMWOAs) of potato plants inoculated with two strains of AMF, Claroideoglomus claroideum (CC) and Claroideoglomus lamellosum (HMC26), were evaluated. Stomatal conductance exhibited a similar trend in the CC and HMC26 treatments for both potato genotypes; moreover, the photosynthetic rate significantly increased by 577.9% between the 100% soil humidity (S0) and 40% soil humidity (S2) stress levels for the VR808 genotype under the CC treatment. The activities of the enzymes catalase (CAT) and ascorbate peroxidase (APX) showed similar trends. In this study, there were different responses among genotypes and treatments. Inoculation with CC under S2 stress levels is a promising potential approach for improving potato growth under drought conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Response to Abiotic Stress and Climate Change)
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17 pages, 3435 KiB  
Article
Genome-Wide Analysis Elucidates the Roles of GhTIR1/AFB Genes Reveals the Function of Gh_D08G0763 (GhTIR1) in Cold Stress in G. hirsutum
by Xianliang Zhang, Cuicui Wu, Yutao Guo, Xiang Ren, Yongming Meng, Qi Gao, Fei Zhang, Yaping Wang and Jinggong Guo
Plants 2024, 13(8), 1152; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13081152 - 20 Apr 2024
Viewed by 620
Abstract
This study identified 13 GhTIR1/AFB members in G. hirsutum through bioinformatics methods and divided them into three subgroups by phylogenetic tree analysis. Motif and gene structure analysis showed that the genes in this family were highly conserved. Promoter cis-acting element [...] Read more.
This study identified 13 GhTIR1/AFB members in G. hirsutum through bioinformatics methods and divided them into three subgroups by phylogenetic tree analysis. Motif and gene structure analysis showed that the genes in this family were highly conserved. Promoter cis-acting element analysis found that the promoters of GhTIR1/AFBs contained a large number of cis-acting elements in response to growth and development and abiotic stress. Further RT-qPCR results showed that GhTIR1/AFB genes responded to various abiotic stresses such as IAA, ABA, cold, and heat, and the expression levels of each gene changed obviously, especially Gh_D08G0763 (GhTIR1), which responded significantly to cold injury. Using VIGS (virus-induced gene silencing) technology to silence Gh_D08G0763 in the cold-tolerant cotton variety ZM36, it was found that the resistance of ZM36 to cold damage was significantly reduced. The physiological response mechanism of the Gh_D08G0763 in resisting cold damage was further analyzed through trypan blue staining of leaves and determination of enzyme activity levels. This study provided effective genetic resources for cotton cold-tolerance breeding. Full article
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14 pages, 6991 KiB  
Article
Comparative Genomics of Lotus japonicus Reveals Insights into Proanthocyanidin Accumulation and Abiotic Stress Response
by Zhanmin Sun, Ziyang Liu, Manqing Zhi, Qifan Ran, Wenbo Xue, Yixiong Tang and Yanmin Wu
Plants 2024, 13(8), 1151; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13081151 - 20 Apr 2024
Viewed by 427
Abstract
Lotus japonicus, is an important perennial model legume, has been widely used for studying biological processes such as symbiotic nitrogen fixation, proanthocyanidin (PA) biosynthesis, and abiotic stress response. High-quality L. japonicus genomes have been reported recently; however, the genetic basis of genes [...] Read more.
Lotus japonicus, is an important perennial model legume, has been widely used for studying biological processes such as symbiotic nitrogen fixation, proanthocyanidin (PA) biosynthesis, and abiotic stress response. High-quality L. japonicus genomes have been reported recently; however, the genetic basis of genes associated with specific characters including proanthocyanidin distribution in most tissues and tolerance to stress has not been systematically explored yet. Here, based on our previous high-quality L. japonicus genome assembly and annotation, we compared the L. japonicus MG-20 genome with those of other legume species. We revealed the expansive and specific gene families enriched in secondary metabolite biosynthesis and the detection of external stimuli. We suggested that increased copy numbers and transcription of PA-related genes contribute to PA accumulation in the stem, petiole, flower, pod, and seed coat of L. japonicus. Meanwhile, According to shared and unique transcription factors responding to five abiotic stresses, we revealed that MYB and AP2/ERF play more crucial roles in abiotic stresses. Our study provides new insights into the key agricultural traits of L. japonicus including PA biosynthesis and response to abiotic stress. This may provide valuable gene resources for legume forage abiotic stress resistance and nutrient improvement. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Crop Genetics and Breeding)
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24 pages, 5235 KiB  
Article
Alterations of Photosynthetic and Oxidative Processes Influenced by the Presence of Different Zinc and Cadmium Concentrations in Maize Seedlings: Transition from Essential to Toxic Functions
by Ildikó Jócsák, Ferenc Csima and Katalin Somfalvi-Tóth
Plants 2024, 13(8), 1150; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13081150 - 20 Apr 2024
Viewed by 583
Abstract
Background: The study examined the impact of varying the concentrations of zinc (Zn) on plant responses, particularly on photosynthetic and oxidative metabolic processes. This investigation aimed to distinguish between the beneficial and harmful effects of Zn on plants, highlighting significant nutrient supply concerns. [...] Read more.
Background: The study examined the impact of varying the concentrations of zinc (Zn) on plant responses, particularly on photosynthetic and oxidative metabolic processes. This investigation aimed to distinguish between the beneficial and harmful effects of Zn on plants, highlighting significant nutrient supply concerns. Methods: The investigation methods were centered around non-invasive methods, such as biophoton emission (delayed fluorescence—DF, ultra-weak bioluminescence—UWLE), fluorescence induction (Fv/Fm) measurements, chlorophyll content estimation (SPAD) and vegetation index (NDVI) determination. Furthermore, the analytical determination of lipid oxidation (MDA level) and antioxidant capacity (FRAP) as well as gene expression studies of the antioxidative enzymes glutathione reductase (GR), glutathione S-transferase (GST) and lipoxygenase (LOX) for essential Zn and nonessential cadmium (Cd) were also carried out in order to clarify toxic symptoms through different Zn investigation approaches. Results: It was possible to identify a metabolic enhancement from 1000 µM; however, stress symptoms from the 2000 µM Zn treatment were noted for both the investigated photosynthetic and oxidative processes. The outcomes of this research contribute to the improvement of Zn mineral-supplementation technology, which is essential for maize growth, and the optimization of agricultural practices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Abiotic Stress Responses in Plants)
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14 pages, 4337 KiB  
Article
Development of a TaqMan Real-Time PCR for Early and Accurate Detection of Anthracnose Pathogen Colletotrichum siamense in Pachira glabra
by Jiaqi Gu, Haihua Wang, Xiaoyan Huang, Limei Liao, Huan Xie and Xixu Peng
Plants 2024, 13(8), 1149; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13081149 - 20 Apr 2024
Viewed by 547
Abstract
Anthracnose, caused by Colletotrichum siamense, is a destructive disease of Pachira glabra in southern China. Early and proper monitoring and quantification of C. siamense is of importance for disease control. A calmodulin (CAL) gene-based TaqMan real-time PCR assay was developed [...] Read more.
Anthracnose, caused by Colletotrichum siamense, is a destructive disease of Pachira glabra in southern China. Early and proper monitoring and quantification of C. siamense is of importance for disease control. A calmodulin (CAL) gene-based TaqMan real-time PCR assay was developed for efficient detection and quantification of C. siamense, which reliably detected as low as 5 pg of genomic DNA and 12.8 fg (5800 copies) of target DNA. This method could specifically recognize all tested C. siamense isolates, while no amplification was observed in other closely related Colletotrichum species. The assay could still detect C. siamense in plant mixes, of which only 0.01% of the tissue was infected. A dynamic change in the amount of C. siamense population was observed during infection, suggesting that this real-time PCR assay can be used to monitor the fungal growth progression in the whole disease process. Moreover, the method enabled the detection of C. siamense in naturally infected and symptomless leaves of P. glabra trees in fields. Taken together, this specific TaqMan real-time PCR provides a rapid and accurate method for detection and quantification of C. siamense colonization in P. glabra, and will be useful for prediction of the disease to reduce the epidemic risk. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Protection and Biotic Interactions)
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21 pages, 1162 KiB  
Article
Development of a Micropropagation Protocol for the Ex Situ Conservation of Nuttall’s Scrub Oak (Quercus dumosa)
by Joseph Francis Ree, Christy Powell, Raquel Folgado, Valerie C. Pence, Christina Walters and Joyce Maschinski
Plants 2024, 13(8), 1148; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13081148 - 20 Apr 2024
Viewed by 897
Abstract
Worldwide, oak species are threatened with extinction due to habitat loss, pathogens, and changing fire regimes. Ex situ conservation through tissue culture may protect the remaining genetic diversity of Quercus dumosa, or the coastal sage scrub oak, from further loss. We designed [...] Read more.
Worldwide, oak species are threatened with extinction due to habitat loss, pathogens, and changing fire regimes. Ex situ conservation through tissue culture may protect the remaining genetic diversity of Quercus dumosa, or the coastal sage scrub oak, from further loss. We designed three basal salt formulations based on the mineral composition of shoot tips and first leaves from mature Q. dumosa and explored carbohydrate source, stress-mitigating compounds, and plant growth regulator concentrations to develop a method of cultivating many Q. dumosa culture lines in vitro. All three novel basal salt formulations led to decreased necrosis compared with commercial basal salt formulas WPM, MS, and DKW. Substitution of 30 g L−1 sucrose with glucose and adding 250 mg L−1 ascorbic acid, 5.2 mg L−1 SNP sodium nitroprusside, and 103 mg L−1 y-aminobutyric acid improved culture health overall. In an experiment involving 115 culture lines, 0.66 mg L−1 6-benzylaminopurine produced the highest average shoots per explant, but 0.33 mg L−1 produced the greatest proportion of shoots 2 cm or greater. Incubation for 24 h in 20 mg L−1 indole-3-butyric acid led to the most rooting. These methods show promise for the ex situ conservation of many genotypes of endangered Q. dumosa. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Cell Biology)
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17 pages, 3668 KiB  
Article
Changes in Growth and Heavy Metal and Phenolic Compound Accumulation in Buddleja cordata Cell Suspension Culture under Cu, Fe, Mn, and Zn Enrichment
by Alicia Monserrat Vazquez-Marquez, Antonio Bernabé-Antonio, José Correa-Basurto, Cristina Burrola-Aguilar, Carmen Zepeda-Gómez, Francisco Cruz-Sosa, Aurelio Nieto-Trujillo and María Elena Estrada-Zúñiga
Plants 2024, 13(8), 1147; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13081147 - 19 Apr 2024
Viewed by 576
Abstract
Buddleja cordata cell suspension cultures could be used as a tool for investigating the capabilities of this species to tolerate heavy metals (HMs) and for assessing the effects of HMs on the accumulation of phenolic compounds in this species. It grows in a [...] Read more.
Buddleja cordata cell suspension cultures could be used as a tool for investigating the capabilities of this species to tolerate heavy metals (HMs) and for assessing the effects of HMs on the accumulation of phenolic compounds in this species. It grows in a wide range of habitats in Mexico, including ultramafic soils, and mobilizes some HMs in the soil. The mobilization of these HMs has been associated with phenolic substances. In addition, this species is used in Mexican traditional medicine. In the present study, a B. cordata cell suspension culture was grown for 18 days in a culture medium enriched with Cu (0.03–0.25 mM), Fe (0.25–1.5 mM), Mn (0.5–3.0 mM), or Zn (0.5–2.0 mM) to determine the effects of these HMs on growth and HM accumulation. We also assessed the effects of the HMs on phenolic compound accumulation after 1 and 18 days of HM exposure. Cells were able to grow at almost all tested HM concentrations and accumulated significant amounts of each HM. The highest accumulation levels were as follows: 1160 mg Cu kg−1, 6845 mg Fe kg−1, 3770 mg Mn kg−1, and 6581 mg Zn kg−1. Phenolic compound accumulation was affected by the HM exposure time and corresponded to each HM and its concentration. Future research should analyze whole plants to determine the capabilities of Buddleja cordata to accumulate abnormally high amounts of HM and to evaluate the physiological impact of changes in the accumulation of phenolic compounds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Abiotic Stress Responses in Plants)
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19 pages, 3499 KiB  
Article
Interaction of Soybean (Glycine max (L.) Merr.) Class II ACBPs with MPK2 and SAPK2 Kinases: New Insights into the Regulatory Mechanisms of Plant ACBPs
by Atieh Moradi, Shiu-Cheung Lung and Mee-Len Chye
Plants 2024, 13(8), 1146; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13081146 - 19 Apr 2024
Viewed by 543
Abstract
Plant acyl-CoA-binding proteins (ACBPs) function in plant development and stress responses, with some ACBPs interacting with protein partners. This study tested the interaction between two Class II GmACBPs (Glycine max ACBPs) and seven kinases, using yeast two-hybrid (Y2H) assays and bimolecular fluorescence [...] Read more.
Plant acyl-CoA-binding proteins (ACBPs) function in plant development and stress responses, with some ACBPs interacting with protein partners. This study tested the interaction between two Class II GmACBPs (Glycine max ACBPs) and seven kinases, using yeast two-hybrid (Y2H) assays and bimolecular fluorescence complementation (BiFC). The results revealed that both GmACBP3.1 and GmACBP4.1 interact with two soybean kinases, a mitogen-activated protein kinase MPK2, and a serine/threonine-protein kinase SAPK2, highlighting the significance of the ankyrin-repeat (ANK) domain in facilitating protein–protein interactions. Moreover, an in vitro kinase assay and subsequent Phos-tag SDS-PAGE determined that GmMPK2 and GmSAPK2 possess the ability to phosphorylate Class II GmACBPs. Additionally, the kinase-specific phosphosites for Class II GmACBPs were predicted using databases. The HDOCK server was also utilized to predict the binding models of Class II GmACBPs with these two kinases, and the results indicated that the affected residues were located in the ANK region of Class II GmACBPs in both docking models, aligning with the findings of the Y2H and BiFC experiments. This is the first report describing the interaction between Class II GmACBPs and kinases, suggesting that Class II GmACBPs have potential as phospho-proteins that impact signaling pathways. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Protein Biochemistry and Biomolecular Interactions)
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24 pages, 525 KiB  
Article
Exploring the Volatile Composition and Antibacterial Activity of Edible Flower Hydrosols with Insights into Their Spontaneous Emissions and Essential Oil Chemistry
by Basma Najar, Ylenia Pieracci, Filippo Fratini, Laura Pistelli, Barbara Turchi, Dario Varriale, Luisa Pistelli, Maria Francesca Bozzini and Ilaria Marchioni
Plants 2024, 13(8), 1145; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13081145 - 19 Apr 2024
Viewed by 675
Abstract
In the circular economy framework, hydrosols, by-products of the essential oil industry, are gaining attention for their potential in waste reduction and resource reuse. This study analyzed hydrosols from six edible flowers, investigating their chemical composition (VOC-Hyd) and antibacterial properties alongside volatile organic [...] Read more.
In the circular economy framework, hydrosols, by-products of the essential oil industry, are gaining attention for their potential in waste reduction and resource reuse. This study analyzed hydrosols from six edible flowers, investigating their chemical composition (VOC-Hyd) and antibacterial properties alongside volatile organic compounds of fresh flowers (VOC-Fs) and essential oils (EOs). Antirrhinum majus exhibited ketones as major VOC-Fs (62.6%) and VOC-Hyd (41.4%), while apocarotenoids dominated its EOs (68.0%). Begonia cucullata showed alkanes (33.7%) and aldehydes (25.7%) as primary VOC-Fs, while alkanes were prevalent in both extracts (65.6% and 91.7% in VOC-Hyd and in EOs, respectively). Calandula officinalis had monoterpenoids in VOC-Fs and VOC-Hyd (89.3% and 49.7%, respectively), while its EOs were rich in sesquiterpenoids (59.7%). Dahlia hortensis displayed monoterpenoid richness in both VOC-Fs and extracts. Monocots species’ VOC-Fs (Polianthes tuberosa, Tulbaghia cominsii) were esters-rich, replaced by monoterpenoids in VOC-Hyd. P. tuberosa EO maintained ester richness, while T. cominsii EOs contained a significant percentage of sulfur compounds (38.1%). Antibacterial assays indicated comparable minimum inhibitory concentration profiles across VOC-Hyd: B. calcullata and P. tuberosa against Staphylococcus aureus and Salmonella enterica ser. typhimurium, T. cominsii against Escherichia coli and S. enterica, A. majus and C. officinalis against S. aureus, and D. hortensis against S. enterica. Full article
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17 pages, 16160 KiB  
Article
Last-Century Forest Dynamics in a Highland Pyrenean National Park and Implications for Conservation
by Valentí Rull, Arnau Blasco, Javier Sigro and Teresa Vegas-Vilarrúbia
Plants 2024, 13(8), 1144; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13081144 - 19 Apr 2024
Viewed by 521
Abstract
Ecological records from before and after the creation of natural parks are valuable for informing conservation and management but are often unavailable. High-resolution paleoecological studies may bridge the gap and provide the required information. This paper presents a 20th-century subdecadal reconstruction of vegetation [...] Read more.
Ecological records from before and after the creation of natural parks are valuable for informing conservation and management but are often unavailable. High-resolution paleoecological studies may bridge the gap and provide the required information. This paper presents a 20th-century subdecadal reconstruction of vegetation and landscape dynamics in a national park of the Pyrenean highlands. The park lands had traditionally been used for cultivation, extensive grazing, forest exploitation, and hydroelectricity generation following the damming of numerous glacial lakes. A significant finding is that forests have dominated the landscape, with negligible changes in composition, and only experienced fluctuations in forest cover, influenced by both climatic and anthropogenic factors. The creation of the park (1955) and the initial restrictions on forest exploitation did not significantly affect vegetation cover or composition. Major forest expansion did not occur until several decades later, 1980, when the park was enlarged and forest exploitation was further restricted. This expansion peaked in the 1990s, coinciding with a warming trend and a decrease in fire incidence, before declining due to warmer and drier climates. This decline was coeval with the ongoing global forest dieback and may be exacerbated by the predicted global warming in this century, which could also increase fire incidence due to dead-wood accumulation. Currently, the main threats are global warming/drying, fire, and tourism intensification. Similar high-resolution paleoecological records in protected areas are globally scarce and would be capable in providing the long-term ecological scope required to properly understand forest dynamics and optimize conservation measures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Disturbance and Management)
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17 pages, 3429 KiB  
Article
Combined Application of Biochar and Plant Growth-Promoting Rhizobacteria Improves Heavy Metal and Drought Stress Tolerance in Zea mays
by Vadivel Anbuganesan, Ramasamy Vishnupradeep, L. Benedict Bruno, Krishnan Sharmila, Helena Freitas and Mani Rajkumar
Plants 2024, 13(8), 1143; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13081143 - 19 Apr 2024
Viewed by 835
Abstract
Plants are often exposed to multiple stresses, including heavy metals (HM) and drought, which limit the plant growth and productivity. Though biochar or plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) have been widely used for alleviating HM or drought stress in plants, the study of the [...] Read more.
Plants are often exposed to multiple stresses, including heavy metals (HM) and drought, which limit the plant growth and productivity. Though biochar or plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) have been widely used for alleviating HM or drought stress in plants, the study of the effects of combined treatment with biochar and PGPR under simultaneous HM and drought stress is limited. This study investigated individual and combined effects of groundnut shell biochar (GS-BC) and PGPR Bacillus pseudomycoides strain ARN7 on Zea mays growth, physiology, and HM accumulation, along with their impact on soil enzymes under HM (Ni and Zn), drought, or HM+drought stress. It was observed that even under HM+drought stress, Z. mays growth, total chlorophyll, proteins, phenolics, and relative water contents were increased in response to combined GS-BC and ARN7 treatment. Furthermore, the combined treatment positively influenced plant superoxide dismutase, ascorbate peroxidase, and catalase activities, while reducing electrolyte leakage and phenolics, malondialdehyde, and proline under HM, drought, or HM+drought stress. Interestingly, the combined GS-BC and ARN7 treatment decreased HM accumulation and the bioaccumulation factor in Z. mays, highlighting that the combined treatment is suitable for improving HM phytostabilization. Additionally, GS-BC increased soil enzymatic activities and ARN7 colonization irrespective of HM and drought stress. As far as we know, this study is the first to illustrate that combined biochar and PGPR treatment could lessen the adverse effects of both HM and drought, suggesting that such treatment can be used in water-deficient HM-contaminated areas to improve plant growth and reduce HM accumulation in plants. Full article
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17 pages, 8115 KiB  
Article
The Role of FveAFB5 in Auxin-Mediated Responses and Growth in Strawberries
by Xuhui Wang, Shuo Feng, Jiangshan Luo, Shikui Song, Juncheng Lin, Yunhe Tian, Tongda Xu and Jun Ma
Plants 2024, 13(8), 1142; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13081142 - 19 Apr 2024
Viewed by 595
Abstract
Auxin is a crucial hormone that regulates various aspects of plant growth and development. It exerts its effects through multiple signaling pathways, including the TIR1/AFB-based transcriptional regulation in the nucleus. However, the specific role of auxin receptors in determining developmental features in the [...] Read more.
Auxin is a crucial hormone that regulates various aspects of plant growth and development. It exerts its effects through multiple signaling pathways, including the TIR1/AFB-based transcriptional regulation in the nucleus. However, the specific role of auxin receptors in determining developmental features in the strawberry (Fragaria vesca) remains unclear. Our research has identified FveAFB5, a potential auxin receptor, as a key player in the development and auxin responses of woodland strawberry diploid variety Hawaii 4. FveAFB5 positively influences lateral root development, plant height, and fruit development, while negatively regulating shoot branching. Moreover, the mutation of FveAFB5 confers strong resistance to the auxinic herbicide picloram, compared to dicamba and quinclorac. Transcriptome analysis suggests that FveAFB5 may initiate auxin and abscisic acid signaling to inhibit growth in response to picloram. Therefore, FveAFB5 likely acts as an auxin receptor involved in regulating multiple processes related to strawberry growth and development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Role of Auxin in Plant Growth and Development)
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17 pages, 1790 KiB  
Article
The Expression of Key Ethylene and Anthocyanin Biosynthetic Genes of ‘Honeycrisp’ Apples Subjected to the Combined Use of Reflective Groundcovers and Aminoethoxyvinylglycine in the Mid-Atlantic US
by Md Shipon Miah and Macarena Farcuh
Plants 2024, 13(8), 1141; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13081141 - 19 Apr 2024
Viewed by 677
Abstract
The decreased profitability of important apple cultivars, such as ‘Honeycrisp’, results from the poor red skin coloration and high fruit drop in the mid-Atlantic US. Apple red skin coloration is determined by the anthocyanin concentration. Reflective groundcovers promote red skin coloration, whereas aminoethoxyvinylglycine [...] Read more.
The decreased profitability of important apple cultivars, such as ‘Honeycrisp’, results from the poor red skin coloration and high fruit drop in the mid-Atlantic US. Apple red skin coloration is determined by the anthocyanin concentration. Reflective groundcovers promote red skin coloration, whereas aminoethoxyvinylglycine (AVG) decreases the ethylene production and fruit drop, thus reducing the coloration. Although our previous study showed that combinations of these practices impact the fruit quality and color, research is lacking regarding their effects at the gene and metabolite levels. In this work, for two years, we compared the differences in the internal ethylene concentration (IEC), red skin coloration, fruit drop, transcript accumulation of key ethylene and anthocyanin biosynthetic pathway-related genes, and total anthocyanin concentration of ‘Honeycrisp’ apples. The fruit was treated with combinations of reflective groundcover (Extenday) and AVG (130 mg L−1) and was assessed throughout ripening. Extenday-only-treated fruit displayed the highest upregulation of ethylene and anthocyanin biosynthetic-related genes and of total anthocyanins, exceeding 50% blush, while boosting the IEC. In contrast, AVG significantly decreased the expression of key ethylene and anthocyanin biosynthetic-related genes and total anthocyanins, thus preventing apples from reaching 50% blush, while also decreasing the IEC and fruit drop. The combination of Extenday x AVG fine-tuned the transcript accumulation of ethylene and anthocyanin biosynthetic-related genes as well as the total anthocyanins, allowing the ‘Honeycrisp’ fruit to exceed 50% blush, while increasing the IEC moderately and reducing the fruit drop (as compared to Extenday-only and control), thus enhancing the fruit economic value. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Horticultural Plant Cultivation and Fruit Quality Enhancement)
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14 pages, 8521 KiB  
Article
Non-Thermal Plasma (NTP) Treatment of Alfalfa Seeds in Different Voltage Conditions Leads to Both Positive and Inhibitory Outcomes Related to Sprout Growth and Nutraceutical Properties
by Iuliana Motrescu, Constantin Lungoci, Anca Elena Calistru, Camelia Elena Luchian, Tincuta Marta Gocan, Cristina Mihaela Rimbu, Emilian Bulgariu, Mihai Alexandru Ciolan and Gerard Jitareanu
Plants 2024, 13(8), 1140; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13081140 - 19 Apr 2024
Viewed by 578
Abstract
Non-thermal plasma (NTP) has proven to be a green method in the agricultural field for the stimulation of germination, growth, and production of nutraceutical compounds in some cases. However, the process is far from being fully understood and depends on the targeted plant [...] Read more.
Non-thermal plasma (NTP) has proven to be a green method in the agricultural field for the stimulation of germination, growth, and production of nutraceutical compounds in some cases. However, the process is far from being fully understood and depends on the targeted plant species and the NTP used. In this work, we focus on the production of alfalfa sprouts from NTP-treated seeds under different voltage conditions. A flexible electrode configuration was used to produce the NTP, which can also be placed on packages for in-package treatments. The surface of the seeds was analyzed, indicating that the microstructure was strongly affected by NTP treatment. Biometric measurements evidenced the possibility of stimulating the sprout growth in some conditions by up to 50% compared to the sprouts obtained from untreated seeds. Biochemical traits for the sprouts obtained in different processing conditions were also studied, such as the concentrations of chlorophyll pigments, flavonoids and polyphenols, and antioxidant activity. Most NTP treatments led to inhibitory effects, proving the strong dependence between NTP treatment and targeted plant species. Full article
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12 pages, 2094 KiB  
Article
Distribution and Mechanism of Japanese Brome (Bromus japonicus) Resistance to ALS-Inhibiting Herbicides in China
by Linzhi Bai, Xiangju Li, Xiaotong Guo, Jingchao Chen, Haiyan Yu and Hailan Cui
Plants 2024, 13(8), 1139; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13081139 - 19 Apr 2024
Viewed by 597
Abstract
Bromus japonicus is a common monocot weed that occurs in major winter wheat fields in the Huang–Huai–Hai region of China. Pyroxsulam is a highly efficient and safe acetolactate synthase (ALS)-inhibiting herbicide that is widely used to control common weeds in wheat fields. However, [...] Read more.
Bromus japonicus is a common monocot weed that occurs in major winter wheat fields in the Huang–Huai–Hai region of China. Pyroxsulam is a highly efficient and safe acetolactate synthase (ALS)-inhibiting herbicide that is widely used to control common weeds in wheat fields. However, B. japonicus populations in China have evolved resistance to pyroxsulam by different mutations in the ALS gene. To understand the resistance distribution, target-site resistance mechanisms, and cross-resistance patterns, 208 B. japonicus populations were collected from eight provinces. In the resistant population screening experiment, 59 populations from six provinces showed different resistance levels to pyroxsulam compared with the susceptible population, of which 17 B. japonicus populations with moderate or high levels of resistance to pyroxsulam were mainly from the Hebei (4), Shandong (4) and Shanxi (9) Provinces. Some resistant populations were selected to investigate the target site-resistance mechanism to the ALS-inhibiting herbicide pyroxsulam. Three pairs of primers were designed to amplify the ALS sequence, which was assembled into the complete ALS sequence with a length of 1932 bp. DNA sequencing of ALS revealed that four different ALS mutations (Pro-197-Ser, Pro-197-Thr, Pro-197-Phe and Asp-376-Glu) were found in 17 moderately or highly resistant populations. Subsequently, five resistant populations, QM21-41 with Pro-197-Ser, QM20-8 with Pro-197-Thr and Pro-197-Phe, and QM21-72, QM21-76 and QM21-79 with Asp-376-Glu mutations in ALS genes, were selected to characterize their cross-resistance patterns to ALS inhibitors. The QM21-41, QM20-8, QM21-72, QM21-76 and QM21-79 populations showed broad-spectrum cross-resistance to pyroxsulam, mesosulfuron–methyl and flucarbazone–sodium. This study is the first to report evolving cross-resistance to ALS-inhibiting herbicides due to Pro-197-Phe mutations in B. japonicus. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Protection and Biotic Interactions)
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